Why Harry Potter's aged 35, not 26

Readers may have grown up thinking Harry Potter was the same age as them - but he's a decade older than Daniel Radcliffe

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The Independent Culture

Harry Potter turns 35 today – and is still enjoying having a scar that causes him no pain after slaying Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwarts 17 years ago.

Confused? If (like this writer), Harry Potter’s secondary school career roughly matched yours year for year, you may be wondering why the wizard isn’t in his mid-Twenties.

But Potter wasn’t born in the late Eighties, instead James and Lily welcomed their bundle of joy into the world on 31 July 1980, which also happens to be the same birthday as JK Rowling who turns 50 today.

How was Harry Potter born in 1980?

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Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in the Philosopher's Stone

Nearly Headless Nick celebrated the 500th anniversary of his “deathday” in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

He died in 1492, meaning the second Harry Potter book was set in 1992 when the wizard was in his second year of secondary school, aged 12.

Count 12 years back from 1992 and Nearly Headless Nick’s party confirms Potter was born in 1980.

So he’s definitely not 26?

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Daniel Radcliffe

No, Daniel Radcliffe may be 26, but it turns out the books (and films) were set at least half a decade before their release date, meaning Potter is quite a bit older in ‘real life’.

How old is Harry Potter in the final book?

Harry Potter was in his final year of school in The Deathly Hallows, and was about to turn 18 when the book ends after his victorious defeat during the Battle of Hogwarts.

What about the flash forward epilogue?

Harry and Ginny see their three children James Sirius, Albus Severus and Lily Luna onto the train to Hogwarts 19 years after the events of Deathly Hallows.

Assuming the chapter is set in September at the start of the school year, Harry Potter would be 37 in the epilogue. Fans will have to wait until 2017 for that fateful day when Potter’s age catches us with the final scene in the books.

Read more: JK Rowling confirms new Harry Potter story
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